Cardinal Raymond Burke.
Cardinal Raymond Burke. (Bohumil Petrik/CNA)
BLOGS  |  FEB. 18, 2017
by Edward Pentin
Cardinal Burke Firmly Rejects Account by Order of Malta’s Acting Head
The Cardinal Patron of the Order says he is “stunned” by Von Rumerstein’s account of Albrecht von Boeselager’s dismissal and considers it “a calumny”; also gives interview detailing his recent visit to Guam.

Cardinal Raymond Burke has firmly rejected an account given by the acting head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta who said in an interview this week that the cardinal, and not the Order’s Grand Master, was the one who asked its Grand Chancellor to resign in December.

Here below are Cardinal Burke’s remarks in response to the account given by Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, who is reportedly suffering from ill health and not in possession of all his faculties:   {emphasis by Abyssum}

“The account given by Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein is not accurate. I had no authority to ask the Grand Chancellor to resign. I simply stated that the person who knowingly permitted the distribution of contraceptives in the Order’s works should take responsibility, and then the Grand Master once again asked the Grand Chancellor to resign which he refused to do. Then the Grand Master proceeded to his dismissal without my involvement at all. The account of the Grand Master and myself stands.

To be frank, I am stunned by what Hoffmann von Rumerstein states in the article. I consider it a calumny.”

More on this story to follow next week.


Meanwhile, Cardinal Burke has given an interview to Italian television, giving details of his visit to Guam this week where he has been acting as presiding judge over a clerical sex abuse case dating back to the 1970s.

In the brief interview, the patron of the Order of Malta said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent him on the mission as he serves as president of the Congregation’s apostolic tribunal, and that he has known about the assignment since last October.

The cardinal said his duty was to “deal with a delicate ecclesiastical penal trial”, and that the Pope had “never spoken to me about this task.” He added that he “dealt exclusively” with superiors of the CDF “which is the usual procedure in such cases.”

He further explained that the Pope had “entrusted the case to the Congregation, and the Congregation had proceeded according to the standard procedure for training the members of the Court.”

“In any case,”, he continued, “I think I’ve been chosen based on my study of canon law and my long experience in ecclesiastical trials.”

Earlier this week, the Vatican issued a statement saying the CDF constituted the tribunal on Oct. 5 2016. The tribunal is “autonomous and its work is separate from the Congregation,” the Vatican said, adding that in addition to Cardinal Burke as presiding judge, four other bishops are serving as judges on the case.

Asked how long the assignment will last, the cardinal said it will soon be completed (sources have told the Register this part of the assignment finished today and the cardinal returns to Rome Feb. 24). He added “it’s not clear” how long it will take to complete the entire case, but he hopes to “finish the job before the summer.”

When journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona asked if it was “punishment” from the Pope because he has questioned some of the Holy Father’s actions, the cardinal said: “No, I do not see this mission as a punishment of the Pope and certainly I’m not living it as a punishment!”

He said it is “normal for a cardinal, according to their preparedness and availability, to receive special assignments for the good of the Church.” He added he was “not surprised” by the CDF’s request and he accepted it, “conscious of the heavy responsibility that it involves, but without any thought of other motivations on the part of Pope Francis or the Congregation.”

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Cycle A

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

As we celebrate your mysteries, O Lord,

with the observance that is your due,

we humbly ask you,

that what we offer to your majesty

may profit us for salvation.

Through Christ our Lord, 


I am confident that you recognize that prayer as the Offertory Prayer of the Holy Sacrifice of this Mass that we are offering to God the Father through his Son,

Jesus Christ,

What is it that we offer “to the majesty of the Father?”

Certainly, what you place in the collection plate is a visible symbol of what you are offering to the Father in the celebration of this Mass.  And what does it symbolize?

It stands for, it represents, it symbolizes you. you body and soul, whom he created out of love,

to know him, to love him, to serve him and to be with him forever in the life to come.

Your presence at this Mass tells the Father that you do love him and that your coming to participate in this Holy Sacrifice is evidence of that love,

Your presence tells the Father that you have heard His Son and that whatever sacrifices you have made in your life since you last participated in a celebration of Mass you offer and join with the sacrifice of his Son which is the essential element of this Mass.

The words of Saint Paul in the First Reading

“…everything belongs to you…

the world, or life or death, 

or the present or the future; 

all belong to you, 

and you to Christ, 


Christ to God (the Father).”

give you some idea of what you bring to this Mass when YOU bring YOURSELF  to this Mass.

Ah, but then the words of our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of today’s Gospel reading come as a shock:

“So, be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

How, on earth, is it possible for any human being to be perfect “even as your heavenly  Father is perfect”?

Do not think that Jesus is asking you, directing you, expecting you to become perfect in the same way his Father is perfect.

That is impossible.

What Jesus is asking of us is that we STRIVE TO BE HOLY BY BEING ALL THAT GOD MADE US TO BE.

If we do that, we will become perfect as the Father is perfect: He is perfect in His being and we will be perfect in our being.

His being is pure spirit,

our being is to be human,

that is,

body and spirit.

We are called to be perfectly human !!!

We can become perfectly human because God made us in his image !!!

This means that God gave us an intellect so that we can know things and a will so that we can choose among the things we know, doing good and avoiding evil.  God gives us through the gift to us of the Holy Spirit the power to love and to do good and avoid evil.

To be perfectly human, as God made us and redeemed us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross,

is to strive, out of love, to do good and avoid evil.

But as St. Paul,bemoaned in the seventh chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, the  material side of us is frequently at war with the spiritual side of us.

However in the eighth chapter of that same Epistle, St.Paul tells us:

“But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you.  Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness”

In the second reading Saint Paul reminded us that we are the temples of God, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us.  So it is possible for us to strive for holiness with the help of the Holy Spirit in spite of the drag our bodies sometimes inflict on  us.

As I am frequently remind you, if the Holy Spirit is to help you, you must listen to the Holy Spirit and listening to the Holy Spirit means hearing the Holy Spirit.

Turn off the radio, put down the iPhone, take off the ear plugs, put away the iPad, turn off the television, Throughout the day make sure that you have periods of silence.

Then, if you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit  listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you and respond through prayer,

The most perfect way to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying is through adoration of Christ in the Eucharist, you will hear the wee voice of the Holy Spirit urging you to love your family, love your neighbor, love your enemies, love your life,

love your God.

Each time you do that you are striving to be more perfect as Jesus Christ has urged you and you are being perfectly human.

In the name of the Father and of the Son

and of the Holy Spirit.



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Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

Fri Feb 17, 2017 – 11:33 am EST

Cardinal Burke urges massive U.S. crowd to defend faith amid Church confusion


LENEXA, Kansas, February 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The façade of Cardinal Raymond Burke as a boogeyman of tradition projected by his critics and the media was nowhere to be found last Friday when he gave his usual clear witness to the Catholic faith before an overflow crowd in the Kansas City area.

Cardinal Burke delivered a stirring, clear message on defending the Catholic faith amid the current confusion in the Church that was embraced with resounding gratitude by more than 1,500 who flocked to St. James Catholic Academy.

Many had come from various parts of Kansas and surrounding states to hear his talk entitled “The Challenges to the Defense of the Faith in Our Times” at the Kansas City region of the Knights of Malta’s Defense of the Faith Lecture.


A faith leader in demand

Cardinal Burke’s appearance for the Kansas City Knights of Malta was largely unpublicized in the midst of the tempest in Church hierarchy. Yet it took off on social media in the weeks leading up to the event, resulting in the extraordinarily high turnout, and thousands watching on Facebook Live.

“It really had a life of its own,” said Dr. Paul Camarata, who is with the Kansas City Knights of Malta.

“We were thrilled with the response of the faithful to the event,” Camarata said, “with over 1,500 in attendance Friday night and 4,500 watching online and with almost 10,000 views of the video total since on Facebook.”

Camarata headed the Knights’ committee overseeing the chapter’s Defense of the Faith Lecture. He told LifeSiteNews that preparations began almost a year ago, but once word got out that Cardinal Burke was coming, interest escalated exponentially, all in a matter of a few weeks.

“Our committee considered several speakers who might be appropriate for the lecture,” he stated. “However, we knew we had one of the most eminent defenders of the faith, who happened to have a very special role in the Order — Cardinal Burke, the Cardinal Patron of the Order. Who better to ask to give a Defense of the Faithtalk than the Cardinal Patron of the Order!”

Cardinal Raymond Burke speaks to an overflow crowd in Lexena, Kansas. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

Cardinal Burke’s visit to give the lecture for the local Knights of Malta coincided with his celebrating the White Mass for the Kansas City Catholic Medical Association (CMA) and numerous other appearances over several days.

Camarata, who is also a member of the local CMA, had a hand in getting the cardinal to and from the various local events, and he said it was an amazing time for him personally.

“The outpouring of support was really amazing,” Camarata told LifeSiteNews. “To see how many people love him and support what he’s doing for the Church.”

Camarata told LifeSiteNews that Knights and Dames in other regions of the order were incredibly impressed with the event and Cardinal Burke, and Camarata has received numerous messages from them about it.

“When we mentioned to local Knights and Dames the thought of inviting His Eminence, they were thrilled and excited to host him,” he said. “In fact, we have received notices in advance, with virtually no marketing, from Knights, Dames, and other interested faithful that were coming from many neighboring states including Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, in addition to, of course, Kansas and Missouri.”

President of the Knights of Malta Federal Association, U.S.A. Margaret Melady and executive director Deacon Michael Stankewicz were in attendance for the lecture, as was the local ordinary Kansas City, Kansas, Archbishop Joseph Naumann.

“I even received an email from a Knight in Germany who found out about the event!” exclaimed Camarata. “There were Knights from Minnesota and Pennsylvania who expressed their wishes to be able to attend.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke speaks to an overflow crowd in Lexena, Kansas. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

Our faith is in God

The cardinal took questions after his talk. In response to one, he said that despite the tremendous confusion in society and the Church, our faith must not be shaken and must remain fixed on Christ.

“Our faith does not depend on one person or another person,” Cardinal Burke said. “We pray that those who are clergy and our fellow Catholics are strong and witnesses to Christ, but people fail. But that doesn’t destroy our faith.”

Asked what he would say to a convert who feels betrayed that what is written in the Catechism does not at times seem to be the belief system of clergy and laity today, the cardinal told those in attendance that Catholics have the testimony to the faith from the Catechism and the discipline of the Church in the Code of Canon Law.

“There is no question we’re living through a time in which there is a tremendous amount of confusion, not only in society, but also within the Church itself,” he responded, saying he often encounters frustrated individuals who are beginning to question their Catholic faith.

This could be particularly difficult for those who have come into the Catholic Church, the cardinal said, because they saw in the Church fidelity to the truth of Christ handed down through the apostolic tradition. And his response is always that our faith does not depend on any one person. Although there’s a great temptation to be discouraged because of the erroneous or confused statements by clergy or fellow Catholics, Cardinal Burke reminded the crowd that St. Paul encountered this in the first preaching of the faith.

“You always have people who think they know better than the Church, or who want to use the Church for some other purpose,” he said.

“St. Paul was very strong. Even if an angel from heaven announced to you something different from what I’ve taught you or what you’ve been taught in the Church (he said), ‘Anathema sit.’ In other words, the angel is an anathema, is excommunicated.”

“So that’s what we have to keep in mind,” Cardinal Burke continued. “Our faith is in our Lord Jesus Christ, who’s alive in the living Tradition of the Church. “And He safeguards that through the apostolic tradition. We find that expressed in the Catechism and the Code of Canon Law for the discipline of the Church.”

Educating in the faith and forming conscience

Asked in the Q&A whether an erroneous conscience leads to salvation, Cardinal Burke responded, “No in fact, it can’t. It leads in fact to just the opposite.”

And this is, as he had also pointed out in his lecture, why it’s so important for Catholics to educate their children and young people, and to educate themselves.

If our consciences are not well formed according to the truth of Christ, he said, there is the danger so prevalent today of conscience being abstracted from objective truth.

Fundamental issues

Regarding voting for a pro-choice or a pro-abortion candidate, Cardinal Burke said Catholics need to look for is the candidate who is sound on fundamental issues.

“Human life, the family, religious freedom, freedom of education,” he said. “Those are the fundamental issues. But the first has to be the safeguarding and protection of human life itself.”

“We tend to abstract politics from our Christian faith, and that is really lethal,” the cardinal continued. “Politics has to be informed — and as the Holy Father (Pope Benedict) said, purified and elevated — by our Christian faith. And that means also in the way we vote.”

This response and other answers to questions garnered fervent applause in addition to a lengthy standing ovation at the end of the presentation.

Persevering in faith

Cardinal Burke’s lecture in the Kansas City area came just before the former head of the Church’s highest court was sent to Guam to preside over a Church trial investigating sexual abuse charges against Agana Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

It also follows weeks of turmoil within the highest levels of the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta and the Vatican, before Cardinal Burke being effectively sidelined as the cardinal patron of the order by Pope Francis.

The pope’s appointment of a special delegate to the Knights of Malta is seen as rejoinder to the dubia submitted by Cardinal Burke and three other cardinals last November seeking clarification on the pope’s Amoris Laetitia document.

Amoris Laetitia has created widespread confusion on whether the Church has abandoned its teaching on marriage and opened the door to those living in non-marital unions to receive Communion. The pope has remained silent on the issue.

Cardinal Burke referenced the Catechism, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and teachings from Popes Benedict XVI, Saint John Paul II and Paul VI in addressing the crisis of Christian culture, reason and faith related to objective moral principles. The cardinal also talked about holiness in a totally secularized world and the new evangelization, and holiness related to witnessing to the truth on human sexuality. And he spoke about “the critical service” of parents as primary educators of their children.

Response from the faithful

A number of Catholics present for the Defense of the Faith Lecture shared their reaction with LifeSiteNews.

“I liked it,” said Jacob Villotti, of Garden City, Missouri, roughly 60 miles southeast of Lenexa. “His witness is unwavering, his fidelity to the faith, and the traditions of the Church.”

Murphy Obershaw, a senior at St. James Academy, said she thought the talk was good, especially the cardinal’s emphasis on prayer in daily life.

“It gave me something to think about” making more time for prayer, Obershaw told LifeSiteNews. “I thought that it was a good thing that he has this whole prayer campaign going on. I need to pray more often.”

Jeremiah Martell, 19, of nearby Bonner Springs, Kansas, said, “He basically told us stuff I already knew, and just put it in a more concrete way.”

“It was very impressive,” stated Jeanette Inglin, 19, of DeSoto, Kansas, 15 miles west. “It gives us courage to go on, knowing that Cardinal Burke defends the faith. He’s just very admirable. I liked it a lot.”

Joe Meyers, 16, of Bucyrus, Kansas, said that even though he came with his parents, “I would have come anyway. I knew he was a pretty solid cardinal.”

Camarata summed up the impact of the event.

“It will be hard to match the success of this event, which is just a testimony to how eager the Catholic faithful are to hear how to best live out our faith,” he said.

The entire lecture can be found here.



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Dr. Lamont: It is More Likely Than Not That Francis is a Formal Heretic


All sorts of rumors are now swirling about current events in the Church:

  • Cardinal Burke has been cancelling engagements. Why?
  • Cardinal Muller has resigned from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Was he forced or was it voluntary?
  • A formal correction of the Pope has already been made in private and is about to become public.
  • The Pope and his allies are intending to radically revamp the Novus Ordo Mass to make it even more amenable to Protestants and others.

And these come against the background of significant public events and incidents:

  • The official and public endorsement of a heretical understanding of communion by various groups of bishops in Argentina, Malta and now Germany, based (they claim) on the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The Pope has either confirmed their endorsements or maintained a favorable-seeming silence.
  • The “annexation” of the Sovereign Order of Malta by the Vatican.
  • The overnight appearance in Rome of posters critical of a sitting pope – something not seen since the era of the Papal States.
  • A parody “attack” on the pope sent via email to Vatican officials.
  • A seemingly coordinated attack on Cardinal Burke – now the Pope’s most identifiable “opponent” – accusing him of being a right-wing extremist in league with the Trump administration and neo-Fascist Italian politicians. The attack has involved Pope Francis himself and various Vatican allies but has also bled over into the American secular press.

A friend reminded me of this motto:
Motus in fine velocior

“Motion accelerates when the end is near”

But what is the “end” in this case?

The unprecedented (in modern times) suppression of four (or more) cardinals and thus a tightening of the grip of the Church of Mercy?

Open schism?

Or is it that the “end” will include the removal of a pope?

As unthinkable as the last possibility may seem, more and more people, many inside the Church hierarchy and bureaucracy, are now privately talking about it. Even if it is mere wishful thinking, this has enormous significance.

Yesterday, Rorate Caeli, one of the leading traditionalist Catholic websites, published a long essay by Canadian-born philosopher John R.T. Lamont, addressing certain questions surrounding the meaning of “formal correction.” While the positions taken in he article were not explicitly endorsed by the site, the post was not preceded by any disclaimers either, unlike other “controversial” articles they have published.

Among other things, Lamont claims:

In the light of the fact that Pope Francis has openly endorsed heretical understandings of Amoris laetitia in his letter to the bishops of the Buenos Aires region of Sept. 5th 2016, it is more likely than not that he is in fact a formal heretic.

Why then have so few cardinals and bishops publicly lined up with the four “dubia cardinals” on this? Lamont argues that much of the reason stems from an absolutist understanding of “obedience,” with roots in the philosophy of St. Ignatius Loyola and other 16th and 17th century Jesuits. But this understanding is erroneous and dangerous:

The question of how anyone, even a cardinal, can correct the Pope is an important one. It is a basic principle of the divinely established constitution of the Church that the Pope judges all other Catholics on earth and is judged by none of them. But this constitution does not establish the Pope as an autocrat with tyrannical authority, who is answerable to no-one. The Pope’s authority is a legal one, and as with all legal authority it involves duties to his subjects as well as rights over them. The duty to confess the Catholic faith is a fundamental duty of the papal office. His subjects may thus formally request and even require him to carry out this duty. The right to make such a formal request belongs to any Catholic, but the cardinals, whose office is to advise the Pope, have a strict duty as well as a right to make this request. The cardinals who have failed to do this are guilty of a grave dereliction of duty. This failure is a catastrophe that threatens to lead to the disintegration of most of the Church.

Read the full article here.

It should be noted that the anonymous Rorate author who introduces the piece strongly rejects the truth of the rumor that the Pope has already been formally corrected. However, he does not explain why he believes this.

We’ll find out soon enough.

Originally published at Mahound’s Paradise. Reprinted with permission. This post has been modified for republication.

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 Meet Bob and his friends


An unusual family of animals is winning hearts on Instagram.  This has attracted over 77,000 viewers so far by regularly sharing
snapshots from the life of one man’s pets: an eccentric but tight-knit group that consists of 1 golden retriever, 1 hamster, and 8 birds.

31-year-old Luiz Higa Junior of São Paulo, Brazil, says that his golden retriever, Bob, is a little less than 2 years old.


In the beginning, he just had Bob, a cockatiel and a parakeet.

“Since the beginning I put them together to see their behavior,” he tells us. “It was nice, so I decided to have them play together sometimes during my free time.”;


He then added more birds and a hamster to the group.

His photos show the group posing, playing, exploring, & resting together.
















Why can’t humans learn to get along together like this? 







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John-Henry WestenJohn-Henry Westen


(Emphasis and {commentary} in red type by Abyssum)

Major player at Vatican II confesses to concealing homosexual sex life

February 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — 93-year-old Gregory Baum, a famed Canadian Catholic ex-priest, has in his latest book revealed that he secretly led an active homosexual life for decades.

Baum, who was a peritus or expert at the Second Vatican Council, reportedly composed the first draft of the conciliar document Nostra aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions. Baum advocated for the elimination of the Church’s efforts to encourage Jews to recognize Christ as the Messiah and has since pushed social justice and liberation theology.

The influential cleric reveals candidly in The Oil Has Not Run Dry: The Story of My Theological Pathway, “I did not profess my own homosexuality in public because such an act of honesty would have reduced my influence as a critical theologian.” “I was eager to be heard as a theologian trusting in God as salvator mundi and committed to social justice, liberation theology, and global solidarity.”

Baum was also influential in the Catholic Church in Canada despite his openly heretical positions on sexuality, which he published in various journals. His public dissent from the 1968 declaration of the Church maintaining the ban on contraception — Humanae Vitae — was instrumental in the Canadian bishops’ own dissent from the encyclical of Pope Paul VI. As the foremost expert on the Canadian bishops’ dissent, Monsignor Vincent Foy has written, “If it had not been for the black shadow of Baum over Winnipeg, his influence over some Bishops, the Canadian theological establishment and pressure groups, the Winnipeg Statement of the Canadian Bishops on Humanae Vitae would not have refused to endorse the teaching of the encyclical as it did.”

In his new book, Baum writes, “I was 40 years old when I had my first sexual encounter with a man. I met him in a restaurant in London. This was exciting and at the same time disappointing, for I knew what love was and what I really wanted was to share my life with a partner.”

He says he considered resigning from the priesthood but didn’t go through with the formality, rather choosing to announce it in the national newspaper. He later married a divorced ex-nun who he says “did not mind that, when we moved to Montreal in 1986, I met Normand, a former priest, with whom I fell in love.” Normand, he explains, “is gay and welcomed my sexual embrace.”

Dr. Michael Higgins, the vice president for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, in a tribute to Baum published in Commonweal in 2011 noted his key role during Vatican Council II. “The council was the making of Gregory Baum,” he wrote. “He served in various capacities on the commissions charged with preparing documents. … Beginning his work in November 1960, he concluded it with the council’s end in December 1965, an apprenticeship that culminated in his writing the first draft of Nostra aetate.”

Noted Toronto Catholic priest, and now Vatican consultant, Fr. Thomas Rosica, hosted a controversial appearance by Baum at the Catholic Newman Centre of the University of Toronto in 1996 and in 2012 made him a featured guest on his Canadian Catholic TV station Salt and Light Television.

Fr. Rosica, during the fawning interview with Baum, professed to having known Baum for a long time. “I’ve certainly admired very much your theology, your writings but also your love of the Church, your love of Christ, and you helped to keep alive not only the spirit of the Second Vatican Council but also the authentic teaching of the Council,” Fr. Rosica said of Baum.

“You remain a faithful, deeply devoted Catholic, love Jesus, the Church, the Eucharist,” he added.

Monsignor Foy, on the other hand, considers Baum as having “done more than any person to harm the Church in Canada.” {emphasis by Abyssum}BEWARE 

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Italian Cardinal Defends Traditional Catholic Teaching on Marriage


On 15 February, the Italian journal Il Timone published an article written by Cardinal Camillo Ruini – former Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome – in which he defends the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage according to which the “remarried” divorcees may not receive the Sacraments if they do not live as brother and sister. This article had been first published in 2014 (as Dr. Sandro Magister kindly pointed out to me), but the fact that it has been now re-published again demonstrates its significance in the current context.

Ruini’s statement is important inasmuch as he has weight within the Roman Curia. He is the former President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference and was a close collaborator of Pope John Paul II. In the past, Cardinal Ruini had publicly spoken against so-called “same-sex marriages.” In 2007, he said: “It must be said that (homosexual unions) are at odds with basic anthropological facts, in particular with the nonexistence of the blessing of generating children, which is the specific reason for the social recognition of marriage.” Ruini also contributed in 2015 to the Eleven Cardinals’ Book in defense of marriage.

This statement still will be of help for those prelates in the Church who work to preserve the Catholic doctrine on marriage. It is to be hoped that Ruini’s statement now will encourage more cardinals to come forth into the public and then politely to reject the moral relativism and heterodox episcopal guidelines which are now spreading within the Catholic Church.

In the following, we present some important excerpts of Cardinal Ruini’s article. Mr. Andrew Guernsey, once again, was so kind to provide the translation from the Italian original text.

Il Timone, 15 February 2017

Ruini: Communion for the Remarried Divorcees is Impossible. The Magisterium is Clear and Not Modifiable

Cardinal Camillo Ruini


Other questions, even those already repeatedly addressed by the Magisterium, continue to be brought before us and seem to be becoming more and more acute – among which is that of the divorced and remarried.

Familiaris Consortio“, n. 84, has already indicated the attitude to assume: not abandoning those who are in this situation, but on the contrary having special care for them, by undertaking to make the Church’s means of salvation available to them—helping them, then, who are not to be considered at all separated from the Church, and participating instead in their lives, discerning situations well, moreover, especially those of spouses unjustly abandoned compared to those who did rather culpably destroyed their marriages.

The same “Familiaris Consortio,” however, reaffirms the practice of the Church, “founded on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to Eucharistic Communion.” The fundamental reason is that “their state and their condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church signified and effected by the Eucharist.”

Their personal fault is, therefore, not in question, but rather the state in which they objectively find themselves. For this reason, the man and woman who, for serious reasons, such as the upbringing of children, cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, in order to receive sacramental absolution and approach the Eucharist must take up “the commitment to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from those acts proper to spouses”.

It is undoubtedly a very difficult task, which, in fact, is taken on by very few couples while there is unfortunately a growing number of divorced and remarried persons.

Other solutions are being attempted for some time. One of them, while firmly maintaining the indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage, believes one can allow the divorced and remarried to receive sacramental absolution and to approach the Eucharist, under specific conditions but without having to abstain from the acts proper to married spouses. This would be a second plank of salvation, offered according to the criterion of “epikeia,” to unite mercy to the truth.

This path, however, does not seem viable, mainly because it involves the exercise of sexuality outside of marriage, despite the endurance of a ratified and consummated first marriage. In other words, the original marriage bond would continue to exist but one could act as if it did not exist in the behavior of the faithful and in liturgical life. We are therefore faced with a question of consistency between the practice and the doctrine, and not only a disciplinary problem.

As for the “epikeia” and canonical “aequitas“, they are very important criteria in human and purely ecclesiastical norms but they cannot be applied to the norms of divine law, over which the Church has no power of discretion.

To support the above-mentioned hypothesis, pastoral solutions can certainly be cited which are analogous to those proposed by some Fathers of the Church and go to some extent in practice, but these never attained the consensus of the Fathers, and were in no way common doctrine or discipline of Church (cfr. the letter of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith to the bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the reception of Holy communion by divorced and remarried faithful, 14 November 1994, n. 4). In our time, when, by the introduction of civil marriage and divorce, the problem has arisen in its present form, there is, instead, beginning with the encyclical “Casti connubii” of Pius XI, a clear and consistent position on the part of the Magisterium, which goes in the opposite sense and that does not appear to be changeable.

One might object that the Second Vatican Council, without violating the dogmatic tradition, proceeded to new developments on matters, such as religious freedom, on which there were encyclicals and decisions of the Holy Office that seemed to preclude them.

But the comparison is not convincing because the right to religious freedom has resulted in an authentic conceptual deepening, by tracing back this right to the person as such and to his intrinsic dignity, and not to the abstractly conceived truth, as was done previously.

The proposed solution for the divorced and remarried, however, is not based on a similar deepening. The problems of the family and marriage, moreover, affect people’s daily lives in an incomparably larger and concrete way than those of the foundation of religious freedom, the exercise of which was largely assured in countries of a Christian tradition already before Vatican II.

We must therefore be very cautious in modifying the positions that the Magisterium proposes for a long time and in such an authoritative manner, concerning marriage and the family: otherwise, there would be very grave effects on the credibility of the Church.

This does not mean that every possibility of development is precluded. A road that seems feasible is the review of the processes for matrimonial nullity- which are norms of ecclesial, not divine, law.


The article has been slightly updated after a kind e-mail from Dr. Sandro Magister.

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Freemason Service at England’s Mother Church on Same Day as Consecration to Our Lady

Canterbury cathedral was the Mother-Church of All England from 597 till the death of the last Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Pole, in 1558. It was the heart of the Catholic Church in England and one of the major shrines of Christendom because it housed the shrine of St Thomas a Becket.

The Masonic service in Canterbury cathedral marks the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Freemasonry with the establishment of the first Grand Lodge in London. It is reported that the Masonic service will last three hours, but the published order of service appears much shorter. It remains unclear whether Justin Welby has given his permission for the Masons to participate in full regalia in Canterbury cathedral.  The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Robert Willis, will preside at the Masonic Service. The Duke of Kent, who is the Grand Master of the Freemasons, will also be in attendance along with other High Rulers in the Craft.

Virtue online: The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism reports that Justin Welby made his controversial decision to allow the Masonic service in Canterbury cathedral because of a large donation, “Canterbury Cathedral agreed to hold the service of thanksgiving to celebrate 300 years of Freemasonry after receiving a donation of £300,000 ($374,520) from the Masons for the restoration of the North-West Transept in the Cathedral.”  {Money rules, both in the Vatican and in Canterbury!!! Abyssum}

Justin Welby’s and Canterbury Cathedrals decision to allow a Masonic service is controversial among certain groups of Anglicans in light of the 1987 summary of the  deliberations by the General Synod of the Church of England, Freemasonry and Christianity: Are they compatible?:

It was “clear that some Christians have found the impact of Masonic rituals disturbing and a few perceive them as positively evil.” Some believed that Masonic rituals were “blasphemous” because God’s name “must not be taken in vain, nor can it be replaced by an amalgam of the names of pagan deities.” It noted that Christians had withdrawn from Masonic lodges “precisely because they perceive their membership of it as being in conflict with their Christian witness and belief. The Synod’s primary theological objection centred upon Freemasonry’s use of the word “Jahbulon,” which is the name used for the Supreme Being in Masonic rituals, and is an amalgamation of Semitic, Hebrew and Egyptian titles for God.”


Cardinal Nichols’ reconsecration of England and Wales to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Westminster cathedral on the 18th of February 2017 inaugurates the celebrations of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. The Mass at Westminster cathedral includes the crowning of a specially commissioned statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

There is a violent history of Masonic hostility to Our Lady of Fatima since the original apparitions in 1917 in Portugal. Father John de Marchi’s account of the miraculous events at Fatima, personally verified by Sr. Lucia, recounts the hostility of local freemasons towards Our Lady and the three visionaries at Fatima. Arthur Santos, the mayor of Vila Nova de Ourem who persecuted and psychologically tortured the three children, was a member of the Masonic Lodge of Leiria, and founded a new lodge in his native Vila Nova de Ourem. The Masonic Lodge at Santarem, a neighbouring town to Fatima, became the rallying point to atheistic opposition to Our Lady of Fatima. In September 1917, men from Santarem joined up with men from Vila Nova de Ourem to attack the makeshift shrine at the site of the apparitions.

In view of this history of masonic anti-Catholicism, is it more than an unhappy coincidence that a  major Masonic service is being conducted in the ancient mother Church of the Catholic faith in these lands on the very same day that England is reconsecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in honour of Our Lady of Fatima? Even if it is coincidence, it is a conjunction of events that is profoundly significant and meaningful.

Originally published at EWTN Great Britain. Reprinted with permission.

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‘Sexual relations’ and ‘conjugal relations’ differ categorically

by Edward A. Peters, J.D.
February 16, 2017

Among the fault lines revealed by the ecclesiastical earthquakes erupting after Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia, we can see, I suggest, how some high-ranking ecclesiastics seem inadequately to understand the differences between “sexual relations” and “conjugal relations”.

Most any man and any woman can have sexual relations, of course, but only spouses can have conjugal relations. While physically the actions are the same, the differences between a non-married couple engaging in sexual relations and a married couple engaging in conjugal relations are numerous in the natural order (emotionally, psychologically, even legally); if engaged in between Christians, those differences become categorical (sacramentally, spiritually, and even canonically).

I flagged this confusing of “sexual relations” with “conjugal relations” in my comments on the Maltese Disaster noting that Bps. Scicluna & Grech had carelessly spoken of non-married couples exercising a conjugal virtue (Criteria, # 9). But they were not the first, nor are they the only, prelates to disregard the crucial distinctions applicable here.

Amoris itself confuses “sexual relations” and “conjugal relations” by invoking, in its controversial footnote 329, the Second Vatican Council’s reminder to married persons not to “separate” for too long a time (see Gaudium et spes 51, which speaks exclusively in terms of spouses and conjugal relations) as if it were a warning against non-married couples discontinuing their sexual relations!  From a purely scholarly point of view, Amoris’ invocation of advice to married couples about safeguarding their rights as if it were a disincentive to non-married couples to cease usurping rights that are not theirs, is inexcusable, but—and this is crucial—footnote 329 is, as far I have seen, the only time that Amoris makes this fundamental error in categories. As such, and notwithstanding that footnote 329 should be repudiated, it could be excused as a one-time misstatement in an otherwise very lengthy document.

That is, until others, the Maltese in a document published in L’Ossevatore Romano as above, and now Cdl. Coccopalmerio in a book published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana consciously repeat that confusion by saying about Amoris fn 329 that it presents “a suggestion given by the Council for matrimonial situations, in other words for legitimate unions, but was applied by [Amoris] to the case of unions that are, at least objectively, not legitimate. I believe, however, that such a difference is not relevant for the correctness of the aforesaid application” (Coccopalmerio, p. 24, my trans.).

Dare I say “obviously”—the categorical confusion between mere “sexual relations” and spousal “conjugal relations”  made in Amoris fn 329 when it misapplied Conciliar advice for married persons to non-married persons, by taking advantage of a wider disinterest in and/or ineptitude for theo-canonical precision among many ecclesiastical figures, is now spreading from the debate over admitting divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion, as important as that is, to questions of the moral liceity of sexual acts between married vs. non-married persons, the basic ability of all the faithful to resist sinful temptations, and one’s eligibility for valid reception of Penance, among various other things.

Dare I say “obviously”—this confusion must cease.

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Bishop admonishes Catholic politicians


John Carl d’Annibale / times union Bishop edward Scharfenberger has rebuked three Catholic politicians who took part Saturday in a rally in support of Planned Parenthood.


robert downen / times union rep. Paul tonko, d-Amsterdam, stands with Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan during a rally Saturday supporting Planned Parenthood at its Central Avenue location in Albany.


The words from Bishop Edward Scharfenberger were startling. They were unlike anything we’ve heard from him during his three years here.

The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany didn’t just hit Planned Parenthood with tough language in a newly released statement. He rebuked three Catholic politicians — Kathy Sheehan, Paul Tonko and Patricia Fahy — for participating in Saturday’s rally in support of the organization.

The rally emphasized Planned Parenthood services that aren’t controversial, like pregnancy testing and cancer screening.

But Scharfenberger said focusing on Planned Parenthood’s unobjectionable health services is like “saying that a man who beats his wife sometimes gives her flowers.”

That line raised some eyebrows, I can assure you.

The issue here, of course, is abortion. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider. The church considers it one of the great evils of our time.

“It is the intentional killing of a unique human person in his or her mother’s womb,” Scharfenberger said in his 406-word statement. “This is a scientific fact that has nothing at all to do with religion or religious belief.”

With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, a hot debate of the moment is whether Planned Parenthood should continue to receive federal money, or whether funding should be redirected to clinics that don’t provide abortion.

The defunding threat is largely what led hundreds of supporters to rally at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Central Avenue. Mayor Kathy Sheehan, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy each spoke at the rally.

Scharfenberger didn’t call them out by name, but noted that “three Catholic politicians” spoke passionately on behalf of federal funding. The bishop said “it is inappropriate and confusing to the faithful to hold yourself out as a Catholic while also promoting abortion.”

A few eyebrows shot up at that one, too.

To be sure, Scharfenberger’s statement was met with cheers by Catholics and others who have urged him to more aggressively counter elected officials who think abortion should be legal. Comments on the bishop’s Facebook page were largely supportive.

Sheehan and Fahy were not, which is no surprise. I spoke to both by phone and each sounded startled, if not hurt, by the punch in Scharfenberger’s words.

“It was unfortunate,” Fahy told me. “I was a little taken aback by the comments and the tone.”

Sheehan responded more aggressively. She said comparing Planned Parenthood to an abusive husband is “profoundly flawed and deeply offensive.” She considered the rally to be primarily about health care and the need for Planned Parenthood’s services.

“I didn’t use the word abortion,” she said. “I didn’t use the term pro-choice.”

But to Scharfenberger that’s not the point. He said those “who gloss over the core issue of whether or not taxpayers should be funding the world’s largest abortion business … are engaging in obfuscation that is, at best, confused and, at worst, dishonest.”

This is probably a good time to mention, as Sheehan did, that it is illegal for federal taxpayer money to be used for abortion.

Planned Parenthood’s opponents, though, argue that money is fungible — the notion being that if someone gives you $500 to spend on groceries and nothing else, the money is certainly going to benefit the overall household budget.

Planned Parenthood receives $450 million a year in federal funding, largely from Medicaid reimbursements. The organization’s political arm said it would spend $30 million on federal elections in 2016, almost entirely in support of Democrats — which may explain why the debate over its funding is so politicized.

Scharfenberger has occasionally criticized Planned Parenthood in recent years, and he has frequently spoken out against abortion. But the bishop has largely avoided direct political confrontation since succeeding Bishop Howard Hubbard in 2014.

Scharfenberger was unavailable for comment, so it isn’t clear why Saturday’s rally, in particular, led him to speak out.

The abortion debate has certainly provided other opportunities. Just last month at another Planned Parenthood rally in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for an amendment to the state constitution that would codify the right to abortion in the state.

Cuomo is an important surname in the political debate over religion and abortion. In 1984, the governor’s father gave a speech at Notre Dame that remains a touchstone for Catholic Democrats. Mario Cuomo argued that Catholic politicians who try to ban abortion would be “seeking to force our beliefs on others.”

Thirty-three years later, the debate marches on.

I’ve posted Scharfenberger’s full statement, along with written responses from Sheehan and Tonko, to my Facebook page.

• cchurchill@timesunion.com • 518-454-5442 • @ chris_churchill


{The best solution to this problem is the solution I chose in 1993 in the case of a Catholic member of the Texas Legislature from the Diocese of Corpus Christi who repeatedly stated in press interviews that “the Catholic Church allows individual Catholics to make up their own minds as to the morality of abortion.”  After several attempts to persuade the Legislator to retract that statement, and failing, I placed the Legislator under INTERDICT forbidding the Legislator from receiving Holy Communion until a retraction was made public. +Rene Henry Gracida}

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